By Khonesavanh Latsaphao
July 10, 2012
More than 400 villages in the poorest districts of Savannakhet province will receive assistance to develop more sanitary conditions by 2014.
The villages in question are situated in the districts of Xonbouly, Atsaphangthong and Phin.
The Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV) will raise about 1.2 million euros to develop projects in more than half of the 400 villages.
SNV is working in partnership with the provincial Rural Development and Poverty Reduction Office, and have been developing Total Sanitation Villages in the province since 2010.
“We will work on 40 villages in Xonbouly district, aiming for them to become total sanitation villages this year,” SNV sanitation and hygiene promotion advisor in Laos Ms Phetmany Cheuasongkham told Vientiane Times on Monday.
Only 40 percent of households in these villages have access to toilets. Most of them live in urban areas of the three districts. People who don’t have toilets in their homes are currently using the woods nearby to relieve themselves.
Ms Phetmany said “We don’t give them building materials to develop totally clean villages. Rather, we conduct awareness raising campaigns, to help villagers learn how to develop improved sanitation by themselves.”
To be awarded the title of ‘total sanitation,’ a community has to meet seven criteria. Firstly, more than 95 percent of households must have access to and use improved sanitation.
Meanwhile 100 percent of households must have improved drinking water storage and drink only improved drinking water. All households must also have a garbage bin and/or a garbage disposal system and effective waste water drainage, and keep their livestock away from households and their properties fenced.
This year, SNV have also committed to a cooperation project worth 1.2 million euros to improve water, hygiene and sanitation in rural communities in Huaphan. It will jointly launch the initiative in both Huaphan and Savannakhet, which is scheduled to run from 2012-2014.
Awareness raising campaigns involving more than 6,000 rural villages in Huaphan and Savannakhet have already been undertaken to date.
The collaboration efforts so far include the development of materials for community-led hand washing and total sanitation campaigns, which have been widely distributed across Laos by many development organisations.
The project will enhance local leadership in central Laos when it comes to developing, testing and scaling up interventions that will enhance the sustainability, reliability and quality of water supply services.
This is an important milestone that also contributes to the achievement of national goals on water and sanitation and Millennium Development Goal No. 7.